McGreevey, a native of Jersey City, chose to hold his Hudson County meeting in Union City. The meetings were held in each of the state's 21 counties to get feedback from residents and to discuss some of the challenges that the state is facing right now.
McGreevey, backed by Union City Mayor Brian Stack, introduced his plan to decrease the state property tax. McGreevey also spoke of his plans to improve the public education system, health insurance and transportation plans.
Perhaps no residents in the state understand the impact that a state debt could have on the citizens as greatly as Union City residents. The state debt was $4.8 billion in 1992, but has increased to $17.5 billion this year and according to McGreevey will be $20 billion in 2002.
"That is a shameful legacy," said McGreevey, a Democrat. "The New Jersey debt more than tripled."
Union City residents, facing a municipal structural deficit of $15 million, applauded when McGreevey said he wants to reduce property taxes.
"The tax that most of us are concerned about is the property tax," said McGreevey. "That is what is hammering the middle class family, not the income tax."
McGreevey criticized Gov. Christie Whitman's state income tax cut, saying that the average middle class family received a modest $52 cut in state income tax, while the average upper-class family received a $14,500 cut. He said he did not believe that the state did enough to reduce property taxes.
In order for the state to reduce municipal property taxes, the state would have to its cut costs or increase its revenues enough so that it can give the individual cities more state aid. Then the cities could use it to fill their budgets rather than getting the money from the taxpayers.
The implied hope from McGreevey's visit was that if McGreevey can gain election, he would do more than the current Republican administration to help Union City's budgetary needs.
"Union City has been through some hard financial times," said Stack, who was unhappy with the amount of state aid the city received this year. " James McGreevey has been a tremendous friend to Union City."
"We need someone who knows the issues," said Stack. "Someone who knows the concerns of us the working people in Union City."
McGreevey agreed that Union City needs a friend in the governor's office.
"[Union City] needs to have a partner," said McGreevey. "Someone who understands and wants to work cooperatively with them as opposed to almost against them."
McGreevey spoke about several issues at the event.
One of the top issues in McGreevey's campaign is public education.
"If we don't get this right," said McGreevey about education. "Then we don't get anything right."
McGreevey added, "Marry businesses and secondary schools together. One year in school should reflect one year in progress."
McGreevey's plan to improve education includes developing career academies in each county for high school students.
"If we want to stay competitive in the new economy," said McGreevey. "We have to make sure that every child can compete."
The career academies will allow students to gain technical skills needed in today's job market while still receiving a liberal arts education.
Lucia Fernandez, a senior at Memorial High School in West New York, agrees that career academies would help students.
"When a student goes to apply for a job, right away they ask if they have experience," said Fernandez. "How can students get a job if they are not trained? This way they can find a job and get an education at the same time."
McGreevey also said that he wants to cap the NJSAVER Program at $200,000 and expand the senior citizen tax freeze, so that more seniors will be exempt from tax hikes.
McGreevey is also fighting to make sure that all children get the health care opportunities that they need. McGreevey said that school-based clinical programs will allow a student to see a doctor right in school.
"This will make sure that every child has access to basic health care," said McGreevey.
McGreevey is also looking for ideas to update the state's Transportation Plan, which gives development guildelines for roads and transit systems throughout the state. The state's plan , which is not enforceable by law but is recommended, has not been updated for the past 10 years.
McGreevey asked the many residents that came to the Bruce D. Walter Recreation Center how they would like to see transportation improved in Hudson County, namely roads, bridges, and mass transit.
"If you don't know where you are or where you are going, you are not going to get there," said McGreevey.
Some of the concerns of the residents were with the light rail system, exhaust and smog build-up from the transit buses and making more frequent stops.